Glovers Station

Elegant: Grilled chicken waldorf salad.
Elegant: Grilled chicken waldorf salad. Photo: Chris Hopkins

258 Glen Eira Road Elsternwick, Victoria 3185

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Opening hours Daily 7am-4.30pm
Features Outdoor seating, Family friendly
Prices Moderate (mains $20-$40)
Chef Brett Hobbs
Payments Diner's Club, eftpos, AMEX, Visa, Mastercard
Phone 03 9532 7765

You know those derelict but magnificent buildings that you fervently hope will be turned into something lovely? Too often, desires are dashed and bulldozers move in. Sometimes, as with Glovers Station, good people act in the most marvellously Melbourne way: they bring excellent coffee and delicious food to a neighbourhood in need.

This 1935 mock Tudor structure was a garage with arched entrance, stucco facade and quirky turret. Where lumbering EK Holdens once gorged on leaded fuel, now towering prams have disc brakes engaged so their drivers can top up on muesli with activated almonds. As in the good old days, friendly attendants see to all needs; they'll fill your water but perhaps don't ask them to check your oil.

The old workshop was a mess when Jim Marinis, Mary-Jane Daffy and chef Brett Hobbs (all ex-Little Tommy Tucker in Bentleigh) stepped in. They've magicked it into an attractive haven with factory windows, curved walls, must-touch textures and loving details in everything from bespoke timber tables to thoughtful food. There's a sommelier's approach to coffee with tasting notes and various brews (try the bottomless batch if you're there for the long haul).

The light and airy interior of Glovers Station.
The light and airy interior of Glovers Station. Photo: Chris Hopkins

The menu enthuses about autumn produce so you know this is cafe cuisine not just fuel. Poached trout with quinoa, kale and goji berry salad isn't only a roll-call of hip ingredients; it's also a tasty breakfast, especially considering a wobbly egg and piped dollop of pureed avocado are part of the picture.

The pulled pork roll works any time: it's layered with bitey relish, fried egg and hunks of crackling. Juicy chicken comes with a modified, elegant waldorf salad that includes caramelised walnuts and a shard of crisped chicken skin. There's a respectful kids' menu and moreish desserts.

If it's a toss-up between a grease and oil change and moist chocolate zucchini torte, let me eat cake any day.

Mock-Tudor workshop: Glovers Station cafe in Elsternwick.
Mock-Tudor workshop: Glovers Station cafe in Elsternwick. Photo: Chris Hopkins

Rating: Four stars (out of five)